The Daily Grind: What kind of physics-based gameplay do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

    
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When I first read Massively OP Kickstarter donor MagmaFist’s Daily Grind submission, I suspected him to be a big fan of Gravity/Force Fields Controllers in a past life. He asks,

What kind of physics-based gameplay should be or do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

City of Heroes’ infamous combo leaped to mind because as annoying as some people found those powersets, their physics and animations made the game feel real. When you’re throwing around cars and watching them bounce off walls, or using force powers to propel thugs across the road, you master and immerse yourself in the space as much as the mechanics. Superhero games in particular take advantage of that, and I’d like to imagine that next-gen games can do so much better.

But in fact, I’d sold MagmaFist short because he’s pretty much played all the superhero MMOs and found their physics ambitions lacking. In a followup email, he explained in greater detail:

I was excited by the proposition and CoH’s decision to support the PCI hardware Physx card. As I have found out over the years, my imagination exceeds the implementation. The end result was basically more particle effects floating around than if you did not have the feature turned on or had the hardware to support it.

Champions Online indicated it would be implementing some physics out in the zones, not just an instance. You’d see that a character lifting an object, depending on its size and weight in conjunction with level of strength of the hero, conveyed more “weight.” It wound up being just another feature that couldn’t live up to this player’s expectations.

I tried DC Universe Online when it first came out, and there were definitely more objects to throw. Unfortunately, my rose-colored glasses were stuck in the tab-targeting, multiple hotbars made for a PC keyboard scheme way of doing things.

Finally, there was Marvel Heroes, where I could break glass along with cars along with tables, chairs, planters and tables. But I can’t do anything to the walls, I can’t create an avalanche in a cave, and there just seems to be a reactive component missing that was promised so much in tech demos.

I believe a good implementation of physics will elevate a superhero game by increasing that visceral feel of power you receive playing your favorite MMO. For me, it was City of Heroes through the use of good sound effects, great particle effects, taking on lots of enemies, and a good amount of screen shake. How can you improve on that? The right answer is physics.

It sounds like City of Titans may have some of these ideas planned, and I hope they can deliver, but overall nothing has reached the level of the tech demos I was subjected to over the years promising a new level of gaming.

I wish a superhero MMO had physics like those in games like Battlefront, Call of Duty, and Far Cry — is it just too much for a superhero to get that level of treatment?

So what do you think? What kind of physics-based gameplay do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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JayBezzOfficial
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JayBezzOfficial

Walking through walls should actually walk through walls…

MagmaFist
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MagmaFist

dorn2 City of Titans http://www.cityoftitans.com
Valiance Online – https://valianceonline.wordpress.com/  (temporary site but their Facebook gets updated more frequently)
Probably not what you were expecting as neither has a budget anywhere near any the least expensive AA or AAA game but they are both trying with next gen game engines(Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5).

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

I would like expansions on systems that some MMOs have tried like Phantasy
Star Online 2. The title allows for players to jump on certain enemy’s to get
at weak points that can cause massive damage. Even though they have Dragon’s
Dogma Online  it would be nice if they could work on latency to get to
the point that players could have the ability like the single player game to
have players climbing on a target as part of the strategy to beat it.
 Vindictus probably tries to
most physics based ideas in MMOs through things like chain grappling and
scripted moves like Karok’s https://youtu.be/aAwa831h46g though
there should be a lot more work done in this area because it could allow for
more open ended gameplay.
Having character models being able to interact with each other in real time whether
it’s dancing, hugging, pushing or whatever could be a huge step for immersion
if a company could figure out how to keep models in sync with multiple bodies
at once. It would be interesting if an escort could be done similar to the way ICO’s gameplay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1AK4fJp5uU. Having that
level of functionality alone could be a major selling point.

Estranged
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Estranged

I prefer to call it an intiation or MMO boot camp.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Koshelkin Damonvile Real science…or math in this case tends to bore the shit out of most people but I’ve always loved knowing why super heroes are impossible and it’s never once diminished my nerd love of them in any way.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

melissaheather ManastuUtakata 
I saw that, lol! :)

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Estranged stuff like that is hard.  wouldn’t you rather just gank newbies?  /s     ;-)

melissaheather
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melissaheather

ManastuUtakata yes i think that sorta sums it up :D 
even had the wardrobe pinch at end lol.   that’s what made me think of it.

Mongmong
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Mongmong

Moose Knuckle physics….

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

melissaheather ManastuUtakata 
That has to be the best thing I’ve seen all week! And ohhh the numbnut apologetics…not that there hasn’t been a conversation like that in the Massively IP’s history, lol! Thanks for sharing that! <3